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San Diego Travel Writer Completes 800-Mile Walk To California's Missions

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San Diego Travel Writer Completes 800-Mile Walk To California’s Missions
San Diego Travel Writer Completes 800-Mile Walk To California's Missions
San Diego Travel Writer Completes 800-Mile Walk To California's Missions GUEST: Maggie Espinosa, Travel Writer

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In a tweet, author Maggie Espinosa posts a photo of her arriving at the last mission on her 800-mile walk, Nov. 5, 2014.

California's Catholic missions are a big part of the state's history.

Founded by Franciscan priests, they stretch from San Diego to Sonoma counties. The religious institutions tried to Christianize the natives and colonize California for the Spanish.

Today, they are tourists attractions, and some people have begun to walk the length of El Camino Real to visit all 21 of them. These folks are called the California Mission Walkers. San Diego-based travel writer Maggie Espinosa just completed her 800-mile trek through the historic El Camino Real trail.

She is considered the 11th person to finish the walk.

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“I think I did it for a challenge, but I learned so much along the way,” Espinosa told KPBS Evening Edition.

Espinosa said she accomplished the feat by splitting up her efforts.

“I divided it into twelve months," she said. "Every month for four days I would walk and it would be about 75 miles sometimes 80.”

Along the way, Espinosa used Google Maps to guide her, along with a guide written by a man who had walked the route twice before. She said the journey gave her new appreciation for the missions.

“I learned the pride of the missions," she said. "The people's pride in the missions, the way they take care of them, and the funding and everything that goes into keeping these missions, restoring them, and the people really love them.”

Corrected: February 4, 2023 at 7:45 PM PST
KPBS newsroom assistant Matthew Hoffman contributed to this story.